BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo Sabres head coach Phil Housley said his team "didn't work" and looked "soft" in their 6-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Friday. With the loss, the Sabres finish their seven-game homestand with an unimpressive 3-3-1 record.
Five observations from Friday’s loss:
Not mincing words
After the loss, Phil Housley didn't hold back. On multiple occasions, Housley said his players didn't work and even called them soft.
"We didn't work," Housley said after the game. "We didn't execute and when we don't execute we look slow, we look sloppy. We let guys off the wall in defensive zone coverage and we were easy to play against in the first period."
"You have to understand desperation at this time in the season," Housley added. "We don't have time to wait around, that's what is so disappointing about this game."
If you have a few minutes to spare, check out Housley's opening remarks below:
In the middle of a heated playoff race, finishing a seven-game homestand with more losses than wins can't happen. Rather than climbing closer to a playoff spot the Sabres dug themselves into a deeper hole with a challenging schedule on the horizon. Despite an improved product after a disastrous start to the homestand against Chicago [7-3 loss], securing seven of a possible 14 points isn't good enough. For a team that has prided themselves on their play at KeyBank Center, this seven-game stretch was a major disappointment for the team and fans.
Until the Sabres can string together back-to-back wins this is going to remain an observation. Since notching consecutive wins on Dec. 11 [Los Angeles] and Dec. 13 [Arizona] the Sabres are a pathetic 0-8-1 following a win. If they have any shot at a playoff spot they'll need to string together some sort of win streak.
Too little, too late
Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev deserves credit for his efforts against the Sabres, making multiple quality saves in the final period to keep the Sabres off the board. However, the Sabres had several outstanding chances that should've led to goals. Tage Thompson, for example, had two Grade-A opportunities just outside the crease but failed to convert. Jack Eichel also fired a shot just wide in the opening seconds of the third period that would've tied the game at three.
Up until the goal from Pavel Buchnevich that gave the Rangers a 4-2 lead, the Sabres dominated the third period. The effort was there but the goals were not.
Jeff Skinner is going to be a rich man. With two more goals on Friday, Skinner now has a ridiculous 36 goals in 57 games this season. For those keeping track at home, Skinner now has twice as many goals as Jack Eichel and at least 23 more goals than every other player.
If you're wondering about a contract extension, it appears the two-sides are content letting the situation play itself out. What exactly that means remains to be seen but according to multiple reports, Skinner wants to stay in Buffalo. Here's what he said about a potential extension when asked yesterday.